Wang Jin, Baidu’s senior vice-president (SVP) and former general manager of the company’s autonomous driving unit, announced today that he will resign from Baidu in April and start his own company, local media is reporting (in Chinese).
Wang confirmed his resignation at a conference held today by Angel Plus, reportedly an investor backing Wang’s new firm.
The announcement came on the heels of the resignation of the company’s AI expert Andrew Ng last week, also making Wang the second one leaving the company among the five senior executives who report to new COO Lu Qi.
In the reshuffle of Baidu’s senior management team, Wang no longer serves as general manager of the company’s autonomous driving unit due to personal and family reasons, with the unit being integrated into the company’s Intelligent Driving Group or IDG, together with the company’s smart car and internet of vehicles units.
It’s worth noting that Baidu’s achievements in autonomous driving were mainly made during Wang’s tenure. And Wang also played his part in Baidu investment in leading laser radar manufacturer Velodyne.
Wang joined Baidu in April 2010, and moved up the corporate ladder to senior vice president in December 2012, before serving as general manager of the autonomous driving unit since December 2015. During his tenure, he spearheaded the development of Baidu’s big data engine, open platform with big data cloud, and Baidu Brain, among others, while actively promoting the development of cutting-edge technologies such as speech and image recognition.
Prior to joining Baidu, Wang worked as deputy head of Google’s Shanghai engineering office before holding positions as eBay China CTO and R&D general manager.
While Wang’s departure may cause a loss to Baidu’s fledgling autonomous driving business, the internet giant may usher in a fresh start under the new corporate structure led by COO Lu Qi.
Backed by Wang’s strong technology backgrounds and extensive industry contacts, his new venture may become a powerful player in the autonomous driving sector.
Angel Plus is a Chinese early-stage VC fund co-established by New Oriental Education CEO and founder Michael Yu and investment banker Sheng Xitai in November 2014. The fund focuses on the investment in consumption upgrades, artificial intelligence, big data, fintech and entertainment sectors.